Family of Dahmer Victim Angry at Netflix Over Series

'They're just making money off of this tragedy'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2022 1:15 PM CDT

Netflix says Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a new crime drama series chronicling the life of the serial killer who killed 17 men and boys over 13 years, centers "around the underserved victims and their communities impacted by the systemic racism and institutional failures of the police." But that description alone raises the eyebrows of one victim's family, who questions why Netflix is choosing to retraumatize them. "They don't notify families when they do this. It's all public record, so they don't have to notify (or pay!) anyone. My family found out when everyone else did," Eric Perry, a cousin of victim Errol Lindsey, tweeted Thursday, adding, "It's retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?"

Lindsey's sister, Rita Isbell, also takes issue with the series, which recreates the 1992 victim impact statement she gave in court—an emotional moment that saw her rush toward Dahmer, so that security had to hold her back—"almost shot for shot," per Rolling Stone. "It felt like reliving it all over again," she tells Insider. "I feel like Netflix should've asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn't ask me anything. They just did it." She adds the series "wouldn't feel so harsh and careless" if it benefited the victims' children—including Lindsey's daughter Tatiana Banks, born shortly after his 1991 murder. But "they're just making money off of this tragedy. That's just greed."

Stuart Heritage at the Guardian questions whether the "almost unwatchably queasy" series is "the most exploitative TV of 2022." "The first few episodes in particular are a demonstration of every worst tendency that the true crime drama genre has to offer," he writes. Though this is one of the few stories about Dahmer aiming to put the focus on his victims, "it ultimately falls short" and "goes for gruesome shock value," adds Bethonie Butler at the Washington Post, noting "the series displays a severed head found in Dahmer's refrigerator and a human heart stashed in a deep freezer." Still, "the show is listed as the No. 1 TV series on the streamer after being quietly released last week." (More Netflix stories.)

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